Skip to comments.DJ's mummified body found behind wall in club; Winnipeg mystery
Posted on 12/06/2003 4:47:46 AM PST by Loyalist
Winnipeg disc jockey Eduardo Sanchez, 21, was last seen just before 3 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2002, when he talked to friends near the Village Cabaret.
CREDIT: Wayne Glowacki, The Canadian Press
Police say they likely will never know why Eduardo Sanchez crawled behind a nightclub wall.
CREDIT: The Canadian Press
Some time in the early hours of a cold October day last year, a young disc jockey stumbled into a Winnipeg cabaret and disappeared.
This week, police found the mummified body of Eduardo Sanchez entombed behind a wall in the basement of the popular nightclub, 14 months after he was last seen alive.
While the case is reminiscent of an Edgar Allan Poe story, police say there was no foul play in the 21-year-old's death, just the lingering question of what exactly he was doing behind the wall where he became trapped and died.
"The cause of death was determined to be positional asphyxiation," said Constable Bob Johnson, a Winnipeg police spokesman.
"We don't know for what reason he went between these two walls, but some time while he was in there he either fell, [or] passed out -- we don't necessarily know the circumstances -- but he got himself positioned in a place where he was unable to breathe properly due to the restrictions on his chest.
"It wouldn't have taken a long time ... He probably would've been dead within minutes."
Police were called back to the nightclub -- the last place Mr. Sanchez was seen alive -- when neighbours complained about a foul odour coming from the Village Cabaret.
If not for a recent citywide ban on smoking in bars, investigators said, they might never have found the body.
Neighbours of the club, in a trendy downtown Winnipeg neighbourhood, said they noticed the foul smell more than a year ago, but put it down to spilled beer and stale cigarette smoke.
"Sometimes it reeked of sewage when you came in in the morning," Kerrie Drine, a business owner in a neighbouring building, told The Winnipeg Free Press. "We had to light incense to get rid of it."
But when the municipal smoking ban came into effect in September, the smell persisted and someone eventually notified police. "They took the whole wall down," Const. Johnson said.
Using a special camera borrowed from a local duct cleaning company, police found the body wedged into a narrow space between a stone foundation wall and a newer wall.
The camera was snaked into the claustrophobic gap between the old wall and the newer one, which police said was built several years ago. Officers soon spotted the badly decomposed body of Mr. Sanchez.
"It was pretty close to mummification; it was certainly in the early stages of it," Const. Johnson said.
He said Mr. Sanchez had entered the gap between the walls from an opening at one end and had managed to wriggle through almost its entire 23-metre length, through a gap ranging from 20 to 60 centimetres wide.
"In some places there was enough room to move around, in others it was a very tight fit."
Mr. Sanchez, also known as DJ Phonosys and Grandmasta Sanchez, was last seen by friends in the early morning hours of Oct. 12, 2002. He made an $80 withdrawal from his bank account at 12:48 a.m. from a bank machine in the front entrance of the nightclub. Just before 3 a.m., he spoke with three friends not far from the club and was last seen walking back toward the building.
Family, friends and police searched the Winnipeg area for weeks after his disappearance, but found nothing.
Abbey Sanchez broke down in tears while reading a statement on Thursday about the discovery of her brother, which she called "our family's worst nightmare."
"This news definitely is not what we had anticipated," she said.
Const. Johnson said there is some evidence Mr. Sanchez had been drinking on the night of his disappearance and tests are being conducted to attempt to determine whether alcohol was a factor in his death.
"But the body had degraded so much that the quality of the samples was very, very poor. We may not get anything at all."
He said the question of why Mr. Sanchez crawled behind the wall will probably never be answered. "People will, I think for years, be asking the question: What the heck was he doing in there?" Const. Johnson said.
"And we just don't have a good answer to that, to be honest. We don't know why he was there ... and likely will never know."
He said police considered the possibility that he was looking to retrieve something left or somehow dropped there earlier, but they found nothing behind the wall other than Mr. Sanchez's body.
© Copyright 2003 National Post
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Oh, well, THANK GOD FOR THOSE ANTISMOKING LAWS!
Those damn cigars/cigarettes cover up the stench of death!
So it couldn't have been just the absence of cigarette smoke that made them suddenly notice the smell.
No doubt these sensible citizens, in their wisdom, had also passed a ban on drinking and going to the bathroom in bars.
I'm sure a bar where drinking and going to the bathroom were prohibited would be a much healthier environment for the patrons.
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